The use of the knee spanning Ilizarov method as a treatment procedure in infected nonunion of the distal femur with bone loss

Dipak K.J., Sunny K.M.


Infected nonunion of the distal femur is a very difficult entity to treat; it grossly affects daily living and adds economic burden to the society.There is no consensus on which surgical technique of its management leads to the best outcome.
Materials and methods
We reviewed 10 patients with infected nonunion of the distal femur and bone loss who were treated by radical surgical debridement and application of the Ilizarov external fixator from January 2010 to December 2015.
The mean follow-up after removal of the frame was 18.6 months (range, 14 to 30 months). No patient was lost to follow-up. The mean external fixator time was 313.9 days (range, 275 to 362 days) which correlated with the final lengthening achieved. According to Paley’s grading system, eight patients had excellent clinical and radiological results and five excellent and good functional results. Bony union, ability to bear weight fully, and resolution of the infection were achieved in all the patients.
Distal femoral nonunion is a complicated orthopedic entity as it may be associated with nonunion, infection, bone loss, shortening, soft tissue scar, contracture, restriction of movement, disuse osteopenia. Ilizarov external fixation is a definitive treatment modality in these cases as it gives stability, allows early weight-bearing, compression/distraction at fracture site, helps to arrest infection and achieve union while corticotomy helps to regain length.


femur, distal femur, nonunion, infection, Ilizarov apparatus, corticotomy

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